Middle school plans

Middle school is time for exploring. The education plan during middle school supports your children's examination of themselves and their options. It sets in motion, through short-term goals and action steps, a process of discovery, investigation, and reflection.

As noted in Ingredients of Career Planning, career plans answer five basic questions. Your middle school child should approach these questions with the following emphasis:

  1. Who am I?
    Middle school children are in the midst of major changes - they are rapidly developing physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. They need affirmation and approval, yet independence, from you. Their energies are internally focused, and this can help them reflect on their talents, interests, values, and beliefs with curiosity and attention. Their education plan should identify who they are now and what they want to do to expand that self-awareness.
  2. Where am I going?
    Middle school is a time for dreaming about the future - life seems full of possibilities to most youngsters at this stage of their lives. Help your children articulate their dreams. Then help them explore those dreams through experiences and research. Their education plan should describe actions they will take to clarify their dreams.
  3. How do I get there?
    By exploring how they can reach their dreams, your children will begin to develop concrete connections between now and the future. Their education plan should begin to lay out the various paths they could take to reach their dreams. If they have many dreams, encourage them to look at all of them and identify the commonalities.
  4. What are my next steps?
    Once your children can visualize a path into their future, they can work on the here and now. Their education plan should set some realistic short-term goals that help them move toward their dreams. Since they will be entering high school after completion of eighth grade, the plan should include a list of courses and other activities that they will pursue when they move onto high school.
  5. Where am I now?
    Your children need to revisit their goals at regular intervals. Have they changed? Do they have new dreams? Did they achieve their short-term goals? Should they change their plan or take some new action to move toward their goals? Their education plan should invite ongoing reflection and revision. The plan should grow and develop as they grow and develop.